VIC Department of Health (Centre for Evaluation and Research Evidence) awarded 2021 Public Sector Evaluation Award for Review of the North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room
This study was incorporated in a review of the first medically supervised injecting room set up in Melbourne. It took place within a challenging and politically charged environment and over several years.
The study addressed a number of these challenges through allocating significant time and resources to consulting with the wide range of stakeholders involved in the study.
In addition, there were significant ethical issues that the study dealt with through applying the AES Code of Ethics and seeking approval through an NHMRC ethics committee. A wide range of data collection methods were used to gather evidence to address both formative and summative questions. The work of the evaluation team was highly praised by members of the review team stating that the team developed and tested a multi-faceted framework for the review, drew on local and international evidence, conducted a complex project to support the review panel with clear evidence based findings on which to base recommendations. In addition, the Director of the of the Injecting Room Project praised the team’s work, stating the team helped build, '… a credible foundation for government to make decisions on the next phase of this life-saving trial. Importantly and immediately, the Victorian government accepted recommendations to continue the trial and expand it to include a second supervised injecting centre. The work of the Centre has helped inform other changes (that) have either already been made to improve the trial, such as the development of the approach to local community engagement in North Richmond, or are being considered (e.g. in future legislation)'.